MX23RW : Wednesday, September 19 11:38:11

Live Commentary: Rugby World Cup - England vs. France

Live Commentary: England vs. France
© PA Photos
Old rivals England and France battle it out to progress to the Rugby World Cup semi-finals.

Good morning and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of this Rugby World Cup quarter-final between old rivals England and France. Both teams will be looking to move away from recent controversies as they battle to book a semi-final place against Wales next weekend in Auckland. The talk surrounding England this week has moved away from off-field antics to the kicking rivalry between Toby Flood and Jonny Wilkinson – who both get starts in the backs today. France have maintained their reputation for unpredictability so far this tournament and will be hungry to put last week's humbling defeat to Tonga behind them. It's one of the fiercest rivalries in the Northern Hemisphere and, as always in knock-out rugby, this one could go either way.

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01min: And they're off! England have won the toss so Jonny Wilkinson puts boot to ball for his first kick of the game and France quickly gather.

02min: England are off to a bright start and force France into a five-metre line-out. France remain composed and boot away the danger to push England back.

05min: The men in white are testing the French defence - and the French look panicked.

07min: France make their way into the England 22 and show some intent, before England clear and force Les Bleus back.

11min: England concede a penalty just into their half. Yachvili sends a kick straight down the middle of the posts to give France their first three points.

12min: France break down the line but Foden drags the attacker into touch a metre from the line.

13min: Parra attempts a drop goal but it falls flat.

15min: England concede a penalty for collapsing the scrum. France will go for the posts.

16min: Yachvili takes the kick and makes it look easy. It's 0-6 to France.

17min: England concede another penalty at the breakdown and it looks kickable. Martin Johnson won't be happy.

18min: Yachvili drifts this one wide, however, and England breathe a sigh of relief.

19min: England with some very messy play in their own 22. Attacking French scrum close to the line, but a penalty goes in favour of England.

21min: TRY! Vincent Clerc dances over the line in the corner to extend France's lead. Yachvili can't convert so it's 0-11.

25min: England go through the phases and Flood attempts a drop goal deep ouside the 22. It scrapes along the floor and boos ring out around the stadium.

27min: The English get another chance on the attack but their passing is letting them down. They knock-on to give France the scrum.

28min: Yet another penalty called against England - that's five in just 28 minutes. One expects some stern words from Mr. Johnson at the break.

30min: TRY! Médard goes over in the corner. France are looking extremely dangerous with ball in hand. Yachvili misses the conversion again. France lead by 16 points.

35min: England's passing once again goes wrong. They knock on in the French 22 for a scrum-down. Mermoz clears and Foden takes the ball into touch to gift France some hefty territory.

39min: A lovely offload from Wilkinson releases Easter down the middle. Cueto gets close to line but another handling error sees the ball bundled into touch.

39min: Another handling error! England get perhaps their best chance yet but a high pass glances into touch.

40min: HALF-TIME. Where has this French team been so far this tournament? England look visibly shaken and it's reflecting in simple handling errors. Let's see what Martin Johnson can do during the break.

41min: SECOND HALF UNDERWAY. England face a huge task in scraping this one back. But stranger things have happened.

42min: Tom Croft is down and looks to be in some pain after getting his head in a wrong position during a tackle. He shakes it off and springs back into action.

43min: England win a line-out in the French 22 and push towards the line. But they knock-on and hand France a scrum.

46min: Some messy breakdown play on the half-way line. France come out with possession to take the put-in at the scrum.

47min: Courtney Lawes comes off the bench.

49min: Toby Flood is limping and looks to be in considerable discomfort.

50min: Simon Shaw and Alex Corbisiero come on for England.

52min: France looking dangerous on the attack again, but they knock-on just short of the English 22 to give away a scrum.

53min: Francois Trinh-Duc replaces Dimitri Yachvili.

55min: TRY! Some hard work pays off as Ben Foden goes over the line for England's first points of the game. The trusty boot of Wilkinson adds two points. It's England 7-16 France.

61min: France make it up to the English 22 and are driving towards the posts. England line-up their defence but are saved the hard work when France knock-on.

62min: Haskell replaces England skipper Lewis Moody.

64min: England are raiding the bench. Wigglesworth and Banahan are on for Wilkinson and Youngs. Flood moves over to number 10.

66min: The fresh legs have paid off as England push the French defence deep into the French 22. The blue shirts clear though, and England are pushed way back.

67min: Referee Steve Walsh delivers a stern waring to captain Dusautoir over French penalties.

69min: England can't escape from their own 22. They knock-on to gift France a scrum in a very dangerous position.

71min: France creep ever closer to the try line.

72min: DROP GOAL! After nine phases, Francois Trinh-Duc calmy slots a drop goal through the middle. England now need two converted tries in less than eight minutes.

75min: England have a five metre line-out. France steal and clear.

76min: Cueto goes over but the decision lies with the Television Match Official.

77min: "You may award the try," says the TMO, but Flood misses the conversion. It's 12-19 and England need a converted try to draw.

79min: England gift France a penalty. It looks to be all over. Parra takes his time but misses the kick.

80min: FULL-TIME. And that's that. France move on to face Wales, while England are on their way home to face some tough questions from the press. England 12-19 France.

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